Known as the heart of South America for it's central location in the continent, "The Plurinational State of Bolivia"--its official name under the new 2009 constitution--won it's independence from Spain in 1825 and is one of only two countries in the world to have two capital cities, those being: Sucre and La Paz.
Bolivia shares with its neighbor Paraguay another distinction of political geography: they are the only land locked countries in South America, a condition Bolivia has been appealing ever since it lost its coastline in the 1884 War of the Pacific.
The country is comprised of 9 departments, the largest being Santa Cruz, located in the eastern lowlands that lead to the Amazon.
Bolivia's territory boasts some dramatic extremes in topography--from Andean snow caps to Amazon wetlands-- that result in one of the highest levels of biodiversity, in both flora and fauna, in the entire world.
And the cultural diversity of Bolivia's peoples makes it truly a plurinational state: the constitution recognizes 37 different languages as official languages of the country. Spanish is the most universal, but several of the remaining 36 indigenous tongues are spoken by millions of Bolivians, although numerous languages are becoming extinct.
In recent years the government has invested major resources in paving hi-ways and building new roads. But besides those curvy new mountain hi-ways, there still remain thousands of miles of dirt roads through challenging terrain-- ideal for adventure motorcycle riding.
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